Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sailing from Fremantle

The weather was perfect for a sail from Fremantle to Carnac Island on Saturday. I went with my friend Clodagh on her yacht 'Anastasia' from Fremantle Sailing Club.

'Anastasia' in her pen.

On route to Carnac Island.

Taking the helm.

Carnac Island lies around 10 km south-west of Fremantle, rising from the sea between its better-known and larger neighbours, Garden and Rottnest islands. Several thousand years ago, all three were joined to the mainland when sea levels were significantly lower. Carnac Island has been used briefly as a jail for Aboriginal prisoners, a whaling station and a quarantine station for the Port of Fremantle. During the First World War, Carnac was acquired by the Commonwealth government for defence purposes. It was returned to the State government in 1961 and was declared a nature reserve in 1963.

Australian sea-lions use Carnac Island as a haul-out area during the non-breeding season. This animal is the rarest sea lion in the world, and the only one found solely in Australia.All the sea lions found on Carnac Island are males. This is because Australian sea lions on the west coast of WA exhibit an unusual breeding pattern. Breeding takes place on offshore islands about 200 kilometres north of Perth for four to five months every 17.5 months.

Carnac Island has a significant population of tiger snakes. Tiger snakes are one of the world's most deadly snakes and pose a potential risk to visitors landing on the island. It is one of only two islands in Western Australia where tiger snakes are found. The island also is an important nesting habitat for several species of seabirds such as little penguins, wedge-tailed shearwaters, pied cormorants, pied oystercatchers and Caspian, bridled and crested terns

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